Friday, December 18, 2009

Getting over the fear of fever

I ran into this great article today, put out there by the Canadian organization Vaccination Risk Awareness Network.

I myself was fearful of fever when Diego was a baby, mostly because I was frightened that it would get "too high" and cause brain damage or kill him. Ultimately, I didn't really understand its purpose. And, honestly, out of pure inexperience, I was heavily influenced by conventional "wisdom". (I am so thankful to have broken out of that mold . . .)

Just like labor, let's work with our body instead of against it. Fever has a purpose. Fever is our friend.

Check it:

As loving and caring parents, we naturally want to help our children feel better when the inevitable fevers, flus, colds and various illnesses arise in childhood. Many will reach for popular over-the-counter remedies to suppress fever and alleviate symptoms in the belief that these products are reliable, effective, and safe. But how safe are they really? And what are the risks when fever is suppressed and symptoms masked? Does fever have a critical function in fighting sickness that we have lost sight of?

There is plenty of scientific evidence validating the benefits of fever in fighting viral/bacterial inflammations and it’s important role in the healing process. Fever increases survival rate during infectious diseases – basic information that has yet to reach the majority of people who remain misinformed and misled by pharmaceutical and medical propaganda which still shamelessly advocates the use of antipyretic drugs at the first sign of fever. The myth that untreated fevers will lead to seizures and brain damage is perpetuated ad nauseum. Fever is maligned, misunderstood and seen as an enemy to be feared rather than an ally that signals the immune system gearing up for action.


Emily said...

That's interesting. Not sure what I think. Katie's cousin's baby has seizures often when her fever is untreated. It completely freaks her out. What would the suggestion be? Hmm...

a. borealis said...

I love it when you comment, Em. Love it.

I would say that the wide-spread fear of fever-turning-to-seizures is based in the reality that it can, in fact, happen. You know? Most everything is based on some sort of truth. But ultimately, this isn't the case with most kids. And treating every fever as such is more harmful than helpful. Fever has a purpose within the body and should be respected as such.

With Katie's cousin's daughter, she might have an underlying condition or sensitivity. (And of course, I'm no expert.)

Overall, it is a bad idea to treat everything and everyone the same. I shouldn't be stamping out my child's fever because Katie's cousin's daughter has seizures when her fever gets too high.

Another example: because there is a 1% chance that a baby can pick up the strep B virus during a vaginal delivery, all women w/ strep B are given antibiotics in hospital births. At subsequent births, if you tested positive for step B the first time around, you will be automatically given antibiotics. Kooky over-kill, if you ask me. With a miniscule 1% chance!

Ultimately, I believe that we, as a society, are very vulnerable to the influence of the "authorities"; we don't seem to be grounded in inter-generational wisdom (for a myriad of reasons, I'm sure). Like . . . Hep B vaxes for 1-day old newborns when the target population is prostitutes, intravenous drug users, and health care workers?


Chicken pox vaccines for this next generation when all of us had the pox and were just fine? And that would be the equivalent of measles for our parents' generation. It is so important to know the waters we wade in; and I think, for the most part, pretty much every one of us is blind-sided by it. I know I was.

You got me all whooped up, Em! :)